Category Archives: Food For Thought

Finch, Marisol

I apologize for straying from my normal focus, but I promise this post is relevant to the purpose of my blog. Now, I don’t advertise my name or too many personal things on here, but I have to share some  food-related fun facts that involve my obviously amazeballs given and family names. Observe:

 

 

What do these remarkable companies have to do with Foodie Finch, you ask? Well, the first image should be quite obvious. Yes, ladies and gents, a Chicago-based beer brewing company boasts my last name as their title as well. Don’t ask me why, but I find this fascinating. Probably because it has something to do with me… ha! The second image is that of a beer brewed by Goose Island exclusively for Rick Bayless’ restaurant, Frontera Grill (of which I one day hope to experience and write about here.) And voila, Marisol so happens to be my first name as well.

What are the odds? I really need to try this stuff. Shouldn’t I be getting some sort of royalties? I’m just waiting for the day when some other Chicago-beer-related endeavor is called my middle name… But no, dear readers (or who am I kidding? dear reader,) I’m not giving that away just yet.

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A Review of “Kitchen Confidential”

Anyone who knows me at all knows how much I love Anthony Bourdain. He’s an intelligent, sarcastic, foodie who, by far, has the best job in existence.  Once a line cook, a culinary student, a sous chef, and finally executive chef, he has written many books, and currently hosts his own TV Show on The Travel Channel called No Reservations.  Travelling to a different city each week on the Travel Channel’s budget, Bourdain’s job consists of eating the local food, and talking about it on camera. If that isn’t living the dream, I don’t know what is. I am currently seething over the fact that I will be missing him at the Chicago Theater this week, but such is life.

Anyway, a while ago now, I finished reading his first book, “Kitchen Confidential.”  Several people had recommended this book to me, and I’ve been meaning to read it for quite a while, however, as I am a member of a book club (literature is another passion of mine), it is hard to find time to read books not in the book club schedule. But read it I did, and, no surprise here, I thoroughly enjoyed it. “Confidential” was written long before his days on the Travel Channel, but upon reading this book, you see the beginnings of Bourdain’s witty and brazen banter on his rise in the culinary world.  Though his life as a line cook and chef is not necessarily the life (he provides enough examples of much different, calmer, saner kitchens), you get the feeling that you’d rather have his more colorful, albeit harsher experience in the restaurant industry.

Though he vividly describes in detail the sex, drugs, and yes, even weapons dealing that went down in the kitchens he worked, it’s done in a non-gratuitous manner, which is admirable. Discussing these events without sounding obnoxious, turning me off, or having me cringe in disgust is no mean feat. It’s simply badass. As an avid admirer of all people and things badass, I felt that I understood Bourdain’s decisions (note, I would never some of the decisions he made, I simply understand why he made them). The fact is, he is not an evil guy. He has some loyalty, guts, doesn’t screw anybody over, and talks endearingly about his wife. And of course, I could call “Bullshit!” to all of this, however, he is so candid about the rest of his life in this book, why fake the good stuff? So that suckers like myself would like the bad guy? Could be. I choose to believe that he has these admirable characteristics, so, for me, the promiscuity, the drug addiction, and his shoddy culinary work of some years do not take away from his likeability. As I said before, he is a sarcastic, smart, asshole. And I LOVE it.

I will for sure be dabbling into the rest of Bourdain’s literature (he has written non-fiction as well), and if you are a true foodie and reader like I am, this book will be next on your list.

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Musings on the Closing of El Bulli

El Bulli to Close Permanently

In my first job out of college, I had the good fortune of working for the ultimate foodie. I have never met, nor probably will ever meet someone of this caliber who had the means and in the inclination to travel and sample the best food in the world. Conversing with this man, I felt nervous and antsy, feeling this incredible urge to quit my job, win the lottery, and simply travel and eat for the rest of my life. I felt horribly uneducated in that I had never been to the places he’d been, and eaten the places he’d eaten. I still, very much, feel this way, and am forever kicking myself for never having traveled in school. Though I never had much of the wish to go abroad (college was way too marvelous for that), I forever regret not traveling  in the summer months, as I could have done through my school. Gone are my months-long vacations spent in Chicago (which as any Chi-town native can tell you are amazing) but remember, my interest in food and travel has established itself in recent years. Now, as a working girl, I am using literally all but two of my vacation days for a trip to Italy in August (I am positively giddy about this trip; wait ‘til I tell you about the restaurants I go to there, dear readers!).

Anyway, my boss would frequently drive me home from work as we lived in the same neighborhood, and it took me a train and a bus to get to and fro. In these car rides, we discussed, aside from work, our mutual passion for food, wine, and travel.  One day, we were discussing Spain. This is the country that I most long to go to, as I have watched the way people speak of it, and heard them describe its food, its architecture, and its beauty with idolatrous enthusiasm. As if I didn’t need another reason to go there, my boss suddenly spoke the name El Bulli. No, I hadn’t heard of it. No big deal, apparently it’s just the best restaurant in the world.

Hearing of this, I immediately go home and research it. I encourage whoever reads this to do the same. Only open half the year, people (such as my boss) sign up at 12 am Spanish time on New Years Eve to get a reservation. Reading about this place is reading about any true foodie’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  The chef, Ferran Adria, does what no other has done before him in a little house outside of Barcelona. In this small space, people flock across the globe to see what wondrous creations he and his chefs spend the other half of the year developing.

I told everyone I thought would give a hoot about this restaurant, and how it was my now in my bucket list. I had to experience this place before I died. And then, one day as I am perusing twitter updates (I follow the New York Times), I see the article that is at the beginning of this page. Rage ensues, as my dreams shattered before me upon reading that article. Shame on Ferran… Opening up a culinary school? That will sometimes serve lunch?! I don’t care if you’re losing money (okay, that sucks and I’m sorry) but what about me? ME!

I guess, as a girl who hasn’t even been to effing Alinea (yes I’m a foodie, but that shit’s expensive, and I haven’t made my glory and riches just yet), I should take some steps before setting my culinary aspirations so high. However, it did indeed break my heart, for I was simply someone who has longed to experience this place, even if it was years down the road… What would my ex-boss say? Where is my Culinary Pilgrimage to now?

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